A lot of people have been asking what are the best incline treadmills for home gyms so here’s a quick, handy guide to 2024’s top running machines that do just that. There are huge benefits to hill running and if you’re buying a new machine worth its salt, you’ll definitely one that gets this right.
- Incline Levels: 0-20 levels
- Motor Power: 3.5 CHP, 6HP Peak
- Max Speed: 17.5 km/h
- Max Weight: 130 kg
- Incline Levels: 0-22 Level Auto Incline
- Motor Power: 6.5 Horsepower
- Max Speed: 21 kmph
- Max Weight: Estimate based on similar models (likely around 130-150 kg)
- Incline Levels: 0-16 Level Auto Incline
- Motor Power: 5hp Peak Motor
- Max Speed: 16.5km/h
- Max Weight: 125kg
- Incline Levels: 0 - 16 Levels
- Motor Power: 3CHP - 5HP Peak
- Max Speed: 16.5 km/h
- Incline Levels: 0 to 20 levels
- Motor Power: 4.5HP
- Max Speed: 16 km/h
- Max Weight: 120 kg
- Incline Levels: 22 levels
- Motor Power: 3.75 CHP, 7 HP Peak
- Max Speed: 20 km/h
- Max Weight: 180 kg
It’s becoming far more common to see even budget treadmills coming with powered incline as an option straight out of the box.
When you look at the benefits, the reasons are obvious. Walking or running on even a very slight incline carries so many health and fitness benefits that, if you have the option to train like this, you probably should.
Pair this with high-quality exercise equipment becoming much more affordable, and the reason why so many treadmills are boasting of their ability to move their running deck upwards as if you’re hill training is obvious.
But actually making a decision about which treadmill to buy is surprisingly complicated. There are a huge amount of differences in what should be a relatively simple system. This guide goes deep into what you should be looking for when buying an incline treadmill, as well as some of the best incline treadmills available on the market right now, from budget machines all the way up to the very best of the bunch.
2022’s Best Treadmills For Incline Running
Branx Fitness Foldable 'Cardio Pro' Touchscreen Console Treadmill
Sturdy, reliable, and packed with amenities like Bluetooth speakers and diverse training programs, making it perfect for serious runners seeking gym-level workouts at home.Check Latest Price
Exemplifying a robust and straightforward assembly, the Branx Fitness Foldable 'Cardio Pro' Touchscreen Console Treadmill is an ideal choice for home fitness enthusiasts. Its impressive maximum speed of 21 km/h and 22 levels of incline ensure a rigorous workout. The embedded Bluetooth speakers offer superior sound quality, enriching the exercise environment. Varied training programs add a level of versatility catering to diverse workout routines.
Operating with minimal noise, this well-constructed treadmill echoes the reliability of gym-grade equipment. The excellent cushioning provides a comfortable running experience, enhancing workout support and comfort. However, it falls short with the absence of a device holder and could benefit from more robust fans for better cooling during intense sessions. Initial console and belt issues may present minor challenges.
Despite these minor drawbacks, compared to similar treadmills, it outshines with its robust construction, high speed, and sound quality. While the absence of a device holder is a downside, its overall value for money and exceptional customer service make it a worthwhile investment.
In summary, despite minor initial issues and the absence of a device holder, the incline treadmill is a reliable, high-performance machine that offers excellent value for money, superior customer service, and varied features making it a versatile home exercise solution.
- Sturdy design: Feels like a commercial gym treadmill, ensuring reliability.
- High max speed: Can reach up to 17.5 km/h, suitable for intense workouts.
- Multiple incline levels: Features 0-20 automatic incline levels, offering varied terrain simulation.
- Rich features: Includes Bluetooth speakers, 12 programs, and a touchscreen console.
- Customer service: Known for excellent customer support and fast delivery.
- No device holder: Lacks a built-in tablet/phone holder for entertainment during workouts.
- Weak fans: The built-in cooling fans do not provide strong airflow.
- Console issues: Some users report initial complications with the console and belt alignment.
Branx Fitness Foldable 'Elite Runner Pro' Soft Drop System Treadmill
Sturdy, high-performance treadmill designed for intensive indoor running with a range of incline levels and robust build quality that justify its price.Check Latest Price
As leading fitness equipment critics, we discovered a robust and well-crafted product that provides a solid running platform with superior shock absorption. Its appeal is further enhanced by the prompt and handy customer service, coupled with a straightforward assembly process. The unit delivers a seamless and gentle running journey, enriched by a broad spectrum of incline choices for diverse training.
We were particularly impressed with its durable structure, ensuring a dependable running platform. The smooth running surface, augmented by excellent shock absorption, ensured a comfortable workout. The ease of assembly and superb customer service were also commendable.
Nevertheless, the product has some drawbacks. It lacks a pause function, causing loss of session data upon stopping. It also falls short in terms of adjusting and tracking workout programs. Additionally, the placement of a tablet on the machine obscures the screen view, and some units arrived with pre-existing damage.
When compared to similar products in the market, this treadmill stands out for its sturdy build, smooth running experience, and varied incline options. Its weaknesses, however, lie in program support, tablet placement, and occasional damage upon arrival.
In conclusion, this treadmill offers excellent customer service, an easy assembly process, and robust construction. It provides a smooth running experience with a variety of incline options. However, it has limitations in program support, tablet placement, and some units arrived with pre-existing damage.
- Great customer service: Prompt, helpful support from the customer service team.
- Easy assembly: Comes 95% assembled, requiring minimal effort to set up.
- Sturdy and robust: Solid construction provides a stable and secure running platform.
- Smooth and soft running: The running surface boasts excellent shock absorption, enhancing comfort.
- Good incline options: A wide range of incline settings caters to various training demands.
- Limited pause feature: Stopping the treadmill causes loss of session data, hindering workout tracking.
- Program limitations: Workout programs offer limited adjustability and recording capabilities.
- Tablet placement: Placing a tablet can block the screen, affecting visibility.
Branx Fitness 'NEW' Compact Foldable 'Energy Pro' Treadmill
Sturdy, reliable, and featuring a space-saving design, the Branx Fitness 'Energy Pro' Treadmill is perfect for fitness enthusiasts seeking a high-intensity workout at home.Check Latest Price
Featuring several impressive specifications, the treadmill in question is a commendable option for home exercise. Its self-lubricating mechanism ensures a hassle-free operation, eliminating the need for recurrent maintenance. It impresses with its quick speed and incline adjustment features, accommodating varying workout intensities. The compact yet spacious build provides considerable running space, catering to different space requirements. The treadmill's robust construction and shock-absorbent surface enhance durability, ensuring a smooth performance during intense workouts.
However, a few shortcomings exist. The loud beep sound emitted when adjusting settings could disturb quiet environments, potentially compromising user experience. The slow charging USB port might inconvenience users that depend on their devices during workouts. Furthermore, the restricted belt width might affect larger users' comfort during runs.
When compared to rivals, this treadmill shines with convenience due to its self-lubrication feature, swift speed and incline modifications, and exceptional customer service. However, the benefits must be weighed against the potential drawbacks, like sound levels, charging speed, and belt width, to ensure the best fit for user needs.
To conclude, this treadmill presents convenient features, robust build, and value for money, making it an apt choice for home workouts. Despite some limitations such as sound levels and phone charging speed, its overall benefits outweigh the cons. This treadmill is recommended for people seeking a trustworthy, space-efficient fitness solution.
- Self-lubrication: Maintenance-free operation ensures uninterrupted workouts.
- Quick speed/incline change: Allows runners to easily switch workout intensity for better results.
- Compact size: Offers a spacious running surface while being suitable for smaller spaces.
- Customer service: Responsive and dedicated support provides peace of mind.
- Build quality: Durable carbon steel construction stands up to intense usage.
- Loud settings beep: The noise may be bothersome in quiet home environments.
- Slow phone charging: The USB charging feature is not efficient for quick phone charges.
- Belt width: May not accommodate larger runners comfortably.
Branx Fitness 'LIMITED EDITION' Foldable StartRun Treadmill
Sturdy, reliable, and designed for both walking and running. With its compact form and quiet operation, it's ideal for home gyms and small spaces.Check Latest Price
The Branx Fitness 'LIMITED EDITION' Foldable StartRun Treadmill excels in its swift assembly process and firm construction, ensuring a secure workout experience with minimal bounce. Its compact design and quiet operation make it a suitable choice for people with space constraints, as it can be comfortably placed within a domestic setting. The treadmill also boasts a myriad of program settings, including auto incline options, to cater to a variety of fitness needs.
Despite its remarkable features, the treadmill's hefty size poses challenges when it comes to transportation, especially for residents of multi-storey buildings. The inconsistent pricing and limited Bluetooth quality were also noted as drawbacks by some users. Lastly, delayed deliveries due to tracking issues added to the list of areas for improvement.
Compared to its competitors, this treadmill stands out for its superior build quality, diverse program options, and attentive customer support. However, potential buyers should be aware of its weight, Bluetooth limitations, and pricing fluctuations.
In conclusion, the incline treadmill offers a straightforward setup, robust stability, and a range of program options. These are further reinforced by a responsive customer service and prompt delivery. However, one should consider potential price fluctuations, weight-related challenges, and Bluetooth speaker limitations. All in all, it is a worthwhile investment for people seeking a reliable and enduring treadmill for their fitness journey.
- Easy to use: Simple setup with minimal assembly required, offering a user-friendly experience.
- Excellent customer service: Personalized recommendations and accommodating support.
- Sturdy and stable: Robust build provides a secure workout with little to no bounce.
- Compact and quiet: Ideal for small spaces and noise-sensitive environments.
- Program options: Wide variety of programs and easy speed/incline adjustments.
- Price drop disappointment: Frustration over price reduction shortly after purchase.
- Heavy and bulky: Challenges in moving and transporting due to weight.con here: details on the con.
Jll S300 Digital Folding Treadmill
Sturdy, packed with features and sporting a generous incline range, perfect for serious runners seeking to intensify their home workouts.Check Latest Price
With its spacious running area, this elite incline treadmill caters comfortably to people of all heights. Its comprehensive display provides vital workout data, while the high top speed facilitates intense workouts. The robust construction exudes durability, with top-notch hydraulics and a quality build.
Its incline feature rises to 20%, adding versatility and intensity to workouts, along with diverse workout options. Integrated speakers and safety features, such as a magnetic trip switch, enhance the overall user experience.
However, assembly can be challenging, with the console and certain parts causing issues. The display, while functional, might disappoint tech enthusiasts, and the running belt might feel restrictive for those preferring a wider surface. The user interface and instructions could also be improved.
Compared with similar products, this treadmill excels due to its spacious running deck, high top speed and incline feature. However, the assembly difficulties and basic display quality could deter some users.
In conclusion, this incline treadmill offers remarkable features, making it a worthy choice for fitness enthusiasts seeking an all-encompassing workout experience at home. Despite a few drawbacks, its overall value and adaptability make it a worthwhile investment.
- Spacious running deck: Accommodates users of all heights for comfortable strides.
- Comprehensive display: Provides essential workout metrics to monitor progress.
- High top speed: Suitable for sprints, catering to various fitness levels.
- Quality construction: Durable build with smooth hydraulics for longevity.
- Integrated speakers: Built-in system for an immersive audio experience during workouts.
- Assembly difficulties: Some users find the assembly process challenging.
- Limited display features: Display may not satisfy those seeking advanced tech integration.
- Narrow belt: May be restrictive for users who prefer a wider running surface.
Branx Fitness Foldable 'Pro Flex' Semi-Commercial Treadmill
Sturdy, reliable, and equipped with a touch screen and auto incline, this treadmill is ideal for those seeking a semi-commercial grade machine for intensive indoor running.Check Latest Price
Offering a robust construction and equipped for heavy usage, the treadmill we reviewed excels with its intuitive interface, interactive display, water bottle holders and solid arm supports. These features enhance user comfort and convenience during workouts. The machine's powerful yet whisper-quiet motor and generously wide track make it an exceptional choice for home use.
Some downsides include a sizeable delivery footprint due to large packaging, and potential assembly challenges. There have been instances of missing oil containers and difficulties in refilling the oil, which could pose as minor inconveniences.
When compared to its peers, this treadmill shines with its sturdy build, user-friendliness and top-notch customer service. Despite the minor assembly hiccups, its solid construction and quiet operation position it as an attractive choice for those in search of a reliable home treadmill.
In conclusion, this treadmill is a sturdy, user-friendly machine backed by excellent customer service. Despite requiring considerable delivery and assembly space, it provides a robust, quiet option for everyday home use. It's an ideal workout companion for people seeking a feature-rich, supportive treadmill.
- Sturdy build: Capable of supporting heavy weights for frequent usage.
- Easy assembly: Two-person setup with straightforward delivery.
- Interactive board: User-friendly interface with convenient amenities.
- Customer service: Prompt and efficient query resolution.
- Quiet motor: Powerful yet silent, ideal for home environments.
- Delivery considerations: Requires significant space for delivery and setup.
- Oil container issue: One might be missing; filling may be tricky.
Jll Fitness T550 Digital Home Treadmill
This JLL Fitness T550 Digital Home Treadmill offers a sturdy build, high incline feature, and good value for money, making it ideal for home workouts.Check Latest Price
Boasting a robust build and user-friendly design, this treadmill is an excellent choice for home fitness enthusiasts. Its superior construction ensures longevity and steadiness during intense workout sessions, while the straightforward assembly process, enhanced by comprehensive instructions, offers convenience.
The inclusion of an incline feature introduces variety into your routine, mimicking different terrains for an intensified challenge. Furthermore, the machine operates quietly at high speeds and inclines, delivering a seamless workout experience.
Despite its merits, some downsides exist. The hefty weight requires assistance for relocation, and complications with the USB port and screen darkening upon speaker connection may cause minor annoyances. There are also reports of damages due to subpar packaging, raising questions about delivery conditions.
Despite the few disadvantages, its overall capabilities make it a standout option amongst its competitors. While it may not be without faults, its commendable performance and features render it a worthwhile investment for people seeking a reliable home workout solution.
- Sturdy and Durable Build: Users appreciate the treadmill's reliable construction.
- Easy to Use and Store: It's convenient for home workouts.
- High Incline Feature: Provides a more challenging workout.
- Good Quality and Value for Money: Customers find it to be of excellent value.
- Quick Delivery and Professional Assembly: Positive buying experience with professional assembly.
- Inconsistent Quality Control: Some users experienced damages due to inadequate packaging.
- Basic Console Features: Console features are considered too basic.
- Unreliable USB Functionality: Reported to be shaky and may affect user experience.
What are the advantages of running on an incline?
The science is absolutely clear on this. If you can train using an incline, even a very slight incline that seems like it should be having no effect, you should be. Here’s why:
Incline training raises intensity without overtraining
When you’re training, for best results you should be looking at pushing your cardiovascular system to anywhere between 60 and 80% of your heart rate maximum. Training on an incline is a great way to do this without having to crank up the speed, which makes it harder to run, is loud, tires you out faster, and leads to long term injuries.
Instead, you can enjoy a long, nice stroll that still brings all the benefits of a good workout, with much less intensity. It’s more comfortable and better on your body, without losing out on any of the benefits.
Working different muscles
Having the option to train on an incline lets you work an entirely different set of muscles to running on a flat plane, engaging your calves, hamstrings and glutes far more than walking on a flat surface.
On top of this, the human body isn’t actually designed to run on flat surfaces for long periods of time, and doing so leads to a whole bunch of nasty long term issues like shin splints. Even a slight incline of 1-2 degrees can help to mitigate this.
It burns far more calories
Let’s face it, most people are training for one of two reasons. One, to get healthier and fitter, or two, to look better.
Both of these goals require you to burn calories to hit your goals. So, if there was a way to burn more calories without more training, you should take it, right? Right.
The good news is, walking or running on an incline is massively more effective than training on a flat surface, burning up to 50% more calories, while expending far less than 50% more effort.
What to look for when buying an incline treadmill
So we’ve learned that incline training is incredibly effective, and buying a treadmill that has the option to incline is the smart play, but how do we know what to buy? Here’s what you should be focusing on:
A powerful motor
The motor is the heart of a treadmill, and when you’re buying a treadmill with the option for a powered incline, a more powerful motor is especially important.
This is because the motor will be driving both the belt and the incline system, so it needs to be powerful. It’s so important that the most expensive incline treadmills even have a second, subsidiary motor that does nothing but power the incline.
When looking at how powerful a motor is, expect it to be measured in horsepower (HP) just like a car engine. However, some manufacturers can be dishonest when it comes to how powerful their motors are.
Treadmill motor power is measured in one of two ways. Horsepower (HP) and continuous horsepower (CHP.) When possible, always look for the CHP value of a motor, as this tells you the power that a treadmill can comfortably put out consistently, for hours at a time, rather than in short bursts.
As for how much horsepower to look for? For a treadmill that’s going to be used predominantly for walking and jogging, a 2.5CHP motor is generally sufficient for your needs. If you plan on running at higher speeds, and pushing it to the maximum incline possible, look for a motor closer to 4CHP.
Ergonomics and safety
Incline walking or running on a treadmill can be surprisingly difficult, especially at higher levels of both, and that goes double at the end of a workout when you’re tired.
With this in mind, make sure that what you’re buying has sufficient and strong supports that go far enough around the running belt, make sure that the running belt has enough length and width for comfortable movement, and that there are any comfort and safety features, for example, automatic shut off keys and water bottle holders.
Robust training options
Having the right training options on an incline treadmill means two different things.
One, does it have the capability to monitor your workouts correctly? This means the ability to record all of your metrics, including time trained, at what incline, calories burned, and the option for a heart rate sensor. After all, measuring your workouts is one of the fastest ways to improve the quality of your workouts.
Two, does your chosen treadmill have good options for training programs. Almost all high-end fitness companies have brought out interactive fitness apps in the last couple of years, and there are several good third-party options, (principal among them Kinomap, full review here.)
The benefits of a solid training program can’t be overstated. You’re going to train harder, with more enthusiasm, and be able to hit your goals far faster and more effectively if you train right. We make sure to point out whether a manufacturer has particularly impressive training options with their gear.
Unfortunately, we’re all constrained by price, otherwise, everyone would have the home gym of their dreams. While high-quality fitness gear is an investment that almost always pays off, if you can get more for less, then you probably should consider doing so.
Our list runs from the most expensive systems on the market to less expensive machines that still stand out due to a combination of smart design ideas and great performance for their cost.
6 quick tips for fun and safe incline running on your new treadmill
I can still feel my thighs burning from doing some treadmill work last night and the main culprit is definitely that incline setting. Here are 5 things I’ve learned using incline on my running machines and other people’s that I’ve tried that have made a big difference to my fitness.
- Definitely use the safety key – This is especially important if you’ve not dabbled with the incline setting on our treadmill yet. It can be a bit off-putting when the running track angle ramps up and you feel yourself losing the battle with the hill and ‘sliding’ backwards. The safety key is your best friend here as it will turn off the power if you end up needing to make a hasty retreat.
- Get used to the quick incline settings – Most treadmills will have buttons that allow you to change the incline say 3 degrees with a single touch. If you can, make sure your treadmill has one before you buy it or you’ll end up spamming the plus and minus buttons. This gets old fast when you just want to create an incline quickly.
- Play around with incline on a lower speed – Take it super-easy if you’re not used to hill running. It’s so much harder than running on a flat surface on a treadmill. It’s also more tricky to stay in one spot as you’ll find yourself naturally moving back along the belt. Taking the speed down is a good way to get a feel for this style of running and also build some muscle memory that will keep you in place on your machine.
- Try some of those built-in workouts – I’m always amazed how many people jump on a treadmill every day but don’t try out some of the workout programs. Most running machines will have a good range of programs and they’re not just a gimmick to sound good. They vary both speed and incline and make your body work harder during your run. You can also increase the difficulty as you get better so they’ll keep up with you. Go on, try one out today.
- Don’t run at the same incline or speed for a long period – Studies have shown that the best way to use a treadmill (or do any kind of aerobic training) is to do some kind of interval training. Treadmills usually have good programs built-in but I like to mess around with incline and speed on the fly. A basic way I have found that really helps is to have one-minute hard work followed by one minute easier work and repeat that for your 10, 20 or 30 minutes … or however long you train for. Vary your speed and incline and you’ll get more done and be less bored too.
- Always have ‘some’ incline on – If you’re doing anything other than a super-lazy cool down at the end of your run (which everyone should do as it’s a healthy way to end your workout and slow your racing heart rate down gradually) I’d definitely recommend having at least a 1% incline on there. I’ve played around with treadmills vs running outside and having at least a 1% on there makes it more ‘realistic’ and will burn more calories too.